It seems US had only one plan – to keep the trophy of the Central Asian gas to itself. It was looking for partners who will support it in its logistical endeavour, as it was clearly in a land, far away from the mainland USA. With India having a cosy relationship with Russia almost through the 90s, and Pakistan providing the shortest pipeline route to warm waters of these Central Asian gas reserves, it was a no-brainer when USA supported Pakistan over India in geo-political and military matters. USA deliberately overlooked the Pakistani nuclear smuggling network, as its eyes were on the lucrative CARs gases and for that break up the Soviets was absolutely necessary. Pakistan provided the battleground to push the Soviets out of Afghanistan.
It is a fascinating story how Soviet Union was lured into Afghanistan for its ultimate break-up, the BEAR TRAP, but that is not for this blog.
Suffice it to say, the team of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz were active in oil & gas for much of their lives. These are the people who are / were in very senior positions in George Bush’s government. The names of “oil & energy” companies:Enron, Unocal, Halliburton are synonymous with Rumsfeld, Cheney & Wolfowitz – be it for employment, or for pipeline contracts while in government charge, contributions to Republican party, or even stock-options. Dick Cheney was even on the Kazakstan Oil Advisory Board. These were very interesting connections and again a thesis can be written but I am going to end here.
Add the name of Condolezza Rice to this trio – there was a Chevron oil tanker named “The Condoleeza Rice” prior to her taking charge of NSA in 2001.
1976: IRAN & US NUCLEAR PLANTS:
While USA (with Israel) is now trying to bomb suspected nuclear sites in Iran today, in 1976 Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and White House Chief of Staff Dick Cheney unsuccessfully lobbied for the construction of a nuclear reprocessing plant in Iran. The two men devised the scheme because, they say, Iran needs a nuclear power program to meet its future energy needs. This is despite the fact that Iran has considerable oil and gas reserves. The deal would be lucrative for US corporations like Westinghouse and General Electric, which would make $6.4 billion from the project.
The USA today wants to control the flow of oil & gas from Central Asian regions through its pipelines and the ports of its choice. It will not want to sell all to Western nations, but depending on good and “reciprocal” behaviour to Russia and China too. But the control of the gas will be vested with USA. Russia and China have other plans.
The earlier US Plan:
USA wanted a stable partner for Central Asian gas and it found one in Pakistan. After the Soviets left, the Taliban took over in due course. The Taliban was a creation of ISI. At that time, CIA & ISI were “brothers in arms” and things were on course. Unocal took over the de-facto USA plans for pipeline access from CARs through Afghanistan and onto the warm ports of Karachi.
The then US Assistant Secy of State for South Asian Affairs, ROBIN RAPHAEL went on to state – “The Taliban capture of Kabul is a POSITIVE STEP.”
Another senior US Diplomat stated : “The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did. There will be Aramco, pipelines, an Emir, no parliament and lots of shari’a law. We can live with that.”
On December 4th 1997, the representatives of Taliban were invited guests at the Texas headquarters of UNOCAL to negotiate support for the pipeline. Bill Clinton was the President and George W Bush was the governor of Texas at that point.
The US wanted Taliban to stabilize Afghanistan, wracked as it was in brutal infighting by warring tribes. The US wanted someone – anyone who can bring in stabilization for business to flow uninterrupted.
Unocal was to set up gas pipelines from Turkmenistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. And Halliburton was to provide drilling services in Turkmenistan (Dick Cheney, the Vice President of USA, was the CEO of Halliburton).
US told Pakistan to use ISI and effect a change in Afghanistan – allow Taliban forces to take over and allow Unocal to start business. If that happens, the USA will recognise the TALIBAN government in Afghanistan.
Unocal Vice President John J. Maresca – (later to become a Special Ambassador to Afghanistan) – testifies before the House of representatives that until a single, unified, friendly government is in place in Afghanistan the trans-Afghani pipeline will not be built.
The US viewed the Islamic countries in CARs and Middle East as different states and it needed to be brought into a confederation of states – for oil to flow smoothly. Much like the United States of America, they will be called the United States of Islam. This would be akin to the Islamic Caliphate that the Islamists were dreaming of. US fed Pakistan the dream of taking over this Islamic Caliphate, after all it had the Islamic bomb and its military was running the show for Saudi Arabian air force and UAE too.
USA looked at the Islamic Caliphate as a giant oil MNC and Pakistan as the COO with itself as the CEO. However, Pakistan started thinking, why be the COO when it can become the CEO too?
USA too, soon realized that this United Islamic concept was simply not possible, the inner contradictions of these countries will not allow an Islamic Caliphate to take place. Also ISI started acting out of the confines and tasks given to it and started operating to the detriment of USA and Western forces (discussed before – like Somalia, Bosnia etc). In Bosnia ISI actions of arming Bosnian Muslims with top of the line anti-tank missiles brought upon USA wrath – Bill Clinton was going to declare Pakistan as a terrorist nation which was averted when Pakistan sacked ISI Chief Javed Nasir.
USA realized that the ISI has morphed into a different entity, spawning its own terror units for deniable operations that hurt the US. The honeymoon with ISI started turning sour. On the other hand, ISI moved with impunity across the globe, in Philippines, in South Asia, in Europe. See my article ISI & AL QAEDA.
9/11 changed the contours of USA plans. Sandy Berger, Clinton’s National Security Advisor, has stated, “You show me one reporter, one commentator, one member of Congress who thought we should invade Afghanistan before September 11 and I’ll buy you dinner in the best restaurant in New York City.”
Omar Sheikh Sayeed was the alleged person who wired the money to the attackers. There are insinuations that he is a British intelligence asset. The rationale for this stems from the fact that Omar Sayeed went to UK to meet his parents, twice, after being released by India in Kandahar air hijack, and he was not even detained at the airport. That he is under house arrest, is to deny him access to western media / intelligence agencies.
Whatever the truth – USA which had no reason to go back to Afghanistan, had one now. See also how the 9/11 commission covered up Pakistan and ISI’s role in 9/11.
Can USA attack its own country for a stated overseas military objective? If one looks at Operations Northwoods, one will be tempted to say : YES.
This document, titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba” was provided by the JCS to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962, as the key component of Northwoods. Written in response to a request from the Chief of the Cuba Project, Col. Edward Lansdale, the Top Secret memorandum describes U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. These proposals – part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose – included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United States, developing a fake “Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington,” including “sink[ing] a boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated),” faking a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a “Remember the Maine” incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage.
James Bamford himself writes that Operation Northwoods “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.” Or was it the most corrupt?
ISI and Pakistan army, not satisfied with the Islamic Caliphate, wanted, dreamt and plotted about the break up of India with a 1000 cuts – see these two maps 2012 and 2020 Pakistan maps that was discussed in this article: GREATER PAKISTAN.
A broken India, if at all possible, will be a nightmare for USA in light of hostile Islamic regions surrounding USA if it were to stabilize its role in Afghanistan on one hand and contain China on the other. USA realised, a stronger INDIA is its better bet but not a VERY STRONG India.
USA meantime, too, realized that it had created a monster without the safety valve. ISI has morphed into an untamable monster with an appetite for global jehad and most importantly the means to do so too.
The Mumbai attacks of 26/11 will have dispelled doubts amongst the fence sitters about the intention of Pakistan. Hence these attacks definitely do not help Pakistan and the way the events have unmasked its terror nurseries. At superficial levels it helps Pakistan Army, only if the Indian Army started mobilizing its troops, giving Pak Army reasons to disengage itself from its disastrous military campaign against the Taliban on Afghan border. India, has so far, not played ball.
USA moves onto Plan B.
The Changed US Plan:
USA is not going to give up on access to Central Asian gas. If ISI and Pakistan was not playing ball, it would be made to play ball or it will break up Pakistan. Benazir assassination and the departure of Musharraf paved the way for a pliant Pakistan government, subservient to US.
The US is attacking militant hideouts in NWFP regions of Pakistan with impunity and under coercive diplomacy the Pakistan Army has to take care of militant hiding and operating from its territories. Attacking Taliban has been the biggest “nightmare” for Pakistan Army. As discussed earlier, Taliban was the brain child of ISIand it was made to create strategic depth in Afghanistan. Pakistan Army embedded its soldiers into Taliban – this fact can be easily ascertained from the huge Pakistan Army evacuation of Kunduz when Taliban was surrounded by Northern Alliance forces. Taliban who were supported and mollycoddled by Pakistan Army is up in arms against this “treacherous” role of the Pakistan Army, and this has created a civil war like situation within Pakistan. A situation ripe for working on the ethnic fault lines of Pakistan.
Ahmed Quraishi from Pakistan writes: As part of psych-ops, 40-feet wide billboards that have mysteriously sprung up on the main roads of NWFP showing the map of a new country – Pashtunistan – with meticulously defined borders that incorporate most of northwestern Pakistan. This ‘billboard campaign’ has to be the boldest statement of rebellion and separatism ever made in the history of nation-states anywhere in the world.
The deliberate destabilization of Pakistan through American military and political interference will result in turning large parts of the country against the federal government and increasingly draw the military into a civil war that will bleed us for decades to come in the presence of covert support from Afghan soil.
Ethnic politics, the new Trojan horse of anyone who wants to meddle in our affairs, have to be ended through legislation and by creating more provinces on administrative lines and by strengthening Pakistani nationalism. The question is: Who will do this? The current crop of politicians can’t. The military is not trained to do this, at least not alone. I am afraid we are soon approaching a situation where something will have to be thought of outside the box.
It’s either this or more separatist billboards in the future.”
This is the exact thinking of the Pakistan Army too. It wants to move its soldiers from Western borders of Afghanistan to the Indian border and it needed a reason to do so. The Mumbai attacks gave it a reason – hence one concluded that 26/11 was a Pakistani Army job.
Pakistan military strategists saw that instead of the original plan of becoming the CEO of the Islamic Caliphate the USA, together with India is now instrumental in making Pakistan a smaller entity. And there is no way, any self respecting Pakistani esp., its Army was willing to go down without a fight. Was 26/11 – a “thinking out of the box” strategy?
Whichever one ultimately comes about, the net loser will be Pakistan. And Pakistan Army, aware of this, wanted to pre-empt the plans. As I have said before, it was helped along as someone played into Pak Army’s insecurities.
Yes 26/11 it was indeed a Pakistani Army job, which contracted the work to ISI, which then sub-contracted the work to Laskhar e Taiba.
But how is this connected to the USA and its plans for the Central Asian gas and a greater plan for breaking up Pakistan today?
USA knows the visceral hatred the Pakistan Army and ISI has of India.It just needed to play along these fears.
In comes Michael Vickers with his vast contacts in Afghanistan and Pakistan especially with the Mujahideens. As stated before : Vickers was the principal strategist for covert CIA operations in Afghanistan that resulted in the defeat, and subsequent break up of the Soviet Union. If there is one man who can be credited for the break up of Soviet empire – it is Vickers.
His greatest influence was in the precise way he reassessed the potential of Afghan guerrilla forces and prescribed the right mix of weaponry to attack Soviet weaknesses.
At the height of Afghan operation, he was giving strategic and operational direction to 300 unit commanders, 150,000 full time and 500,000 part time fighters (“mujahideens”). He co-ordinated the efforts of TEN countries and oversaw an annual budget of US $ 2 billion.
Presently, Special Operations Command (SOCOM) which is part of the portfolio that Vickers handles is based in Tampa, FL. It’s annual budget is US$ 8 BILLION and more than 60,000 covert and overt personnel are on its payroll. Vickers also sits on 3rd floor of Pentagon “C” Ring.
Is Pakhtunistan Michael Vickers’ parting gift for his Afghan Mujahids? Only time will tell.
A sudden spurt of US spies (special operations group_ have been reported in the past one year in Baluchistan and FATA areas. There are “declared” US spies who run operations together with ISI, but these were covert spies operating out of the ISI ambit in Pakistani territory. Was Jude Kenan, an American caught in FATA, one such covert operative?
In August 2007 a representative of the jihadi outfit – a burly man in mid thirties with medium-length, thick beard met an American in Sadabahar who was dressed like a Pushtun. The meeting lasted more than three hours and the jihadi left with a canvas bag full of cash.
The American could not be identified but the jihadi was traced to a splinter group of LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba). As is known, LeT is not a single entity; it is more like a brand name, used by many groups with diverse objectives and split loyalties.
The jihadi went to Karachi and met a colleague in Shah Faisal Colony and apparently gave him some of the cash he received from the American in Quetta. This assumption is based on the fact that the jihadi’s colleague in Shah Faisal Colony purchased a flashy SUV a few days later. And Benazir Bhutto was assassinated a few months later (direct connection not established that it was this money that was used, but people in the know state that this is so).
Again, this LeT is involved in the Mumbai blasts. Let us look at LeT from a different angle.
In 1988, Abu Abdur Rahman Sareehi, a Saudi and a deputy of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, founded an organization in the Afghan Kunar Valley which recruited Afghan youths and Pakistanis in Bajaur Agency to fight the Soviets. Sareehi was the brother-in-law of Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi, (ALLEGED MASTERMIND OF MUMBAI 26/11 ATTACKS) now named by the US Treasury and the Security Council as chief of operations for the LET. Seed money for the training camps was provided by Bin Laden.
BAHAZIQ A SAUDI INTELLIGENCE PROXY:
Mahmoud Mohammad Ahmed Bahaziq, (described by the US Treasury as the main LET financier in the 1980s and 1990s and now named by the Security Council as a terrorist) was a Saudi intelligence proxy planted in the network.
He built up his influence in the network with Saudi money and eventually established Markaz Dawa wal Irshaad. The name related to a renowned Saudi office for preaching Islam.
MARKAZ HIJACKED BY RSA INTELLIGENCE AND CIA:
This organization was then COMPLETELY HIJACKED by Saudi intelligence and the CIA and later operated under the name Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT). To be fair to USA & RSA (Repuplic of Saudi Arabia), their intention was more to infiltrate the LeT than to use it for terror purposes.
CIA and Pakistan establishment never went after LeT – as LeT never attacked Pakistan and any US interests. The ban on LeT waslaughable at best.
After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, it renamed itself Jamaatut Dawa and clearly distanced itself from al-Qaeda.
The above statements are all facts. There is a connection of LeT to CIA & Saudi intelligence. There is a connection of LeT to Mumbai blasts. LeT was infiltrated by the CIA and RSA (Saudi) intelligence. What can this mean?
The 10 terrorists that attacked Mumbai were supposed to go to Kashmir. The ISI forward station head in Karachi and Zakiur Rahman Lakhvi changed their destination to Mumbai. Why was this done and under whose orders?
Russia stated that Dawood Ibrahim’s drug money was used in 26/11. Dawood is listed as the top 3 drug barons of the world by USA. And India recently said, it is more interested in Masood Azhar than Dawood Ibrahim – is this not strange?
Hamid Karzai’s brother is the largest drug baron in Afghanistan.And Afghanistan produced 6000 tons of opium in 2006, 8200 tons in 2007 and 7700 tons in 2008. On average, the world demand of opium-based narcotics, including heroin, is only half of this production. Where is the rest of opium going?
American forces – this includes all kinds of Americans such regular forces, CIA, Socom and contractors – have been buying and storing all the surplus opium. (See the movie American Gangster to figure out US military complicity in narcotics trade).
This report gets credence from the fact that about 70% of all opium production in Afghanistan comes from Helmand province, an area under the direct control of the Americans.
What would the Americans do with all this opium?
Experts are of the view that this opium, in raw or refined form,would be spread in the neighbouring countries (Pakistan, India, Iran, Central Asia and China). Some of it would go to Russia also.
This would bring several advantages to the Americans:
1. By increasing drug addiction in target countries, Americans would sap the economies of these countries and produce the generations of junkies that would be long-term liabilities for their countries;
2. If the opium is mostly consumed in the neighbourhood, less of it would be left for export to the American markets;
3. Narcotics are a traditional source of additional revenues for the American forces, especially the CIA. However, in this case, the US is not making money as it is subsidizing sales in CARs, INDIA, PAKISTAN & RUSSIA for a “different” reason (explained in points 1 & 2 above).
The suspicion that the American want to spread drug addiction in the neighbouring countries is also supported by the fact that even though the ‘farm-gate’ price of opium has remained stable at nearly US $ 70 per kilo, it is becoming available in the neighbouring countries at around US $ 40 per kilo. Clearly, the Americans are subsidizing the export.
Coming back to Pakistan, the latest NIE (of USA ) describes Pakistan as – No money, no energy and no government.
If USA now wants to break Pakistan, it cannot do so alone. There has to be military participation of India to break Pakistan’s strong army. Someone has to play the game for USA and that attack on Mumbai can be looked at that game changing scenario that broke the stupour of Indian politicians and let it be aligned with Indian Army’s vision which matched the US vision for the region.
USA wants to de-fang Iran but is in no position to do so itself. It has to show as an existential thereat to Israel and Israel will then attack Iran alone.
USA wants to India to tackle Pakistan and Israel to tackle Iran.
The next game changer will either be an attack inside India or more likely an attack within USA that will fast forward the military option and pincer attacks on Pakistan from two fronts.
My point – even if USA was involved in 26/11, albeit in a circuitous way, it has done India more good than harm. (Some commentators may disagree, but its ok – this is after all a view).
While India should be aligned with the short term vision of USA today, it is the long term vision of USA that India needs to be wary of. Before looking at these long term visions, USA has showed India two cards it will not hesitate to play, should India not play along with USA in these plans:
1.Open the Kashmir card – which US alluded to, it might do by sending Bill Clinton as a special representative
2. Last week of September 2008, USA brokered a meeting in Mecca. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia hosted the talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban militant group, according to a source familiar with the talks.
India, together with Russia and Iran pumped in money and armaments to Northern Alliance force that fought the Taliban in Afghanistan. Any talks with Taliban will raise the hackles of these three countries.
Obviously, both the above options have “deadly” consequences for India. And India will see to it, that the above two do not come about. And US knows that it will continue to prick India with these uncomfortable situations to bring it “in line” to its game plan in the Great Game.
THE PAKISTANI VIEWPOINT:
Mushahid Hussain, General Secretary of Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and chairman of Pakistan’s Senate Foreign Relations committee made the following statements about the current Indo-Pak relations, in Indian Express: – a few of his comments:
1. I feel American clout in the region has weakened. America as a superpower is not all that powerful. Now there’s a resurgent Russia, a rising China, emerging India, a stronger Iran and Pakistan is a regional power. But among our political and military elite, there’s infatuation with America. Still, the Americans told us to join the war in Iraq, we refused. They opposed the Iran pipeline, we didn’t agree. We recognize the Hamas government in Palestine, they don’t. We made the bomb despite American opposition. We have close relations with China despite American opposition.
2. Pakistan’s future is linked with China. The 21st century will be an Asian century. For me, the interesting question is: which way will India go? Will it play the role of the frontman for USA against China or will it go with the tide of the Asian century?
The contours of Mushahid’s statements cannot be more “clearer” – which is also the Pakistan military view. Pakistan is at the cusp of moving from American arms into the waiting arms of China – lock, stock and barrel. A fact, that will not at all go well with the strategic planners in USA.
The US military is burning nearly 600000 gallons of fuel per day. More than 80% of this comes from Pakistan, through 700 or so road tankers that are vulnerable to all kinds of attacks on their long journey from facilities in Pakistan to American bases in Afghanistan.And ISI has increased the attacks to these NATO convoys through Taliban in their depots in Peshawar. However, there are people who say that these attacks on NATO convoys are the work of Taliban who are carrying out orders from non-ISI masters (whatever that means).
The reserves in Afghanistan will suffice for only two weeks if the supply line is disrupted.
Aware of this, the Americans have been trying to create an alternate route through Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Even if the alternate route is opened fully, it is very long and inefficient and there are risks that Americans are not in a position to counter at present.
There is need to abandon the Pakistan route but there is nothing to replace it.
Benefits of bifurcating Pakistan: From American point of view, there are many benefits in creating an independent Balochistan:
1.An independent Balochistan will be an ideal territory to keep supply lines open to the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.
2.Independent Balochistan will provide Americans with excellent locations for putting up their military and naval bases to police the Persian Gulf and make sure that no other naval power including India, China and Russia ever gets upper hand in the Indian Ocean.
3.An independent Balochistan will be the place from where Americans can maintain permanent pressure on Iran, even in the remote possibility that they may have to eventually leave Iraq.
4.China and Russia will be denied any access to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean.
5.The Gulf countries will remain dependent on the USA for export routes of their hydrocarbon products.
6.Full control of the entrance to the Gulf will enable USA to allow or deny oil flow by tankers to any country in the world.
7.Central Asia is a land-locked region and the whole region would be on the mercy of the United States.
If Balochistan is detached from Pakistan, the rest of Pakistan is likely to exist as a perpetually unstable entity, creating a permanent source of trouble for India. This fits nicely with other American plans because India has come very close to becoming an economic rival of the United States.
1. One logical consequence is that India and Pakistan would probably go to war or at least move their forces to the borders in a position of war readiness. Every expert knows that keeping forces ready for war is nearly seven to eight times more expensive than keeping them in the barracks. This is an excellent way to make sure that Indian and Pakistani economies would be crippled for a long time to come.
2. India and Pakistan are negotiating for two gas pipelines, one from Iran and the other from Turkmenistan. There are also plans to put oil pipelines from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to South Asia. USA would use every method to deny India the energy resources of Central Asia and IranIndia is not what USA has in mind. The tide has reversed already and it is not to the liking of the Americans. Students from the United States are now coming to India, Indian businessmen are giving tough time to American corporations worldwide, and India has entered some of the export markets that were traditionally dominated by the west. In short, a weak India will be acceptable as a friend but a strong India will be a pain in the neck for Americans.
The game changers and the current situation sits well with the Neo-Cons who have ensured that Obama is tied to the events and plans as envisaged by the Neo – Cons.
Obama has kept Robert Gates as defense secretary. And Bill Richarson comes in as Energy Secretary – the same Bill Richardson who as US Ambassador to the UN in 1988 met the Taliban officials in Kabul (illegally as US did not recognize the Taliban as legitimate Afghanistan government) – all for pipeline through Afghanistan. Which means – under Obama – Afghanistan policy will not change.
MICHAEL VICKERS in 2006 said: “Again, Pakistan is a critical ally in the war on terror, but life’s not perfect. But again, what’s the alternative—invade the Northwest Frontier Provinces? Good luck. You know—and so there’s a—you know, there’s a time and place.”
The time is now INDIA – it is NOW!
However, Pakistan feels at most India will precision bomb the terrorist training camps (which are anyway emptied out) in POK and nothing more. All this “bravado” that Congress is showing isonly for elections that are due in 2009 to steal the thunder from BJP. Are they correct?
MY 2 CENTS WORTH : This article to show the importance of USA and how India must hedge its bet in the Great Game. The villain is not USA, it is PAKISTAN. Pakistan attacked because it wanted to. Pakistan’s aims and designs on India remain the same – To bleed India by 1000 cuts and use home grown “jehadis” for terrorism. Mumbai attacks have opened an avenue for Indian military action – let us not shy away from this moment. CARPE DIEM – SIEZE THE DAY. JAI HIND!
(CLICK ON THE MAP FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW). This map is drawn by an American, so please excuse their lack of knowledge of the map of J&K. If I were to remove this map, on the basis of this serious error, I will not be able to present their plans to you – the detailed NATO bases. Also you will have noticed the derogatory term used “hillbillies” which connotes to people who dwell in remote “mountainous” areas. (earlier referred to American Indian tribes of Appalachia and Ozarks).